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Jul 14, 2004



Not only did Dune 2 come before Warcraft, it was a much better game. Loads.

I also agree that Dune's is a very compelling universe. I want to play a MMORPG where I can live for thousands of years slowing evolving into a paranoid despotic sand worm. There's a hero's journey you don't see every day. Also the devs wouldn't need to come up with some strained explanation for nonperma-death - the Duncans took care of that nicely.

Jihaaaaaaad. Did I mention that those books get strange to the point of distraction?

It is always too bad to see legal difficulties inhibit new exciting content. I know, how about another movie or miniseries, you know, try for a couple every decade.


I can't imagine a level-grind architecture staying true to the Dune books. To me, the dune books were about a) out-maneuvering opponents politically, and b) the ramifications of prescience.

Political maneuvering - You'd need to produce a system that hindered or prevented direct PvP combat, but encouraged indirect actions, like hiring assasins, or forming political ties with NPCs and other PCs. You'd also have to deal with the fact that not everyone can be a member of the ruling class, which is what the Dune books focussed on.

Prescience - This is difficult to do in a game with other players, since they tend to mess up any prophetic spice-dreams produced by the computer's AI. However, the dreams could be used to convey enemy locations and their actions (at the present or near-past, but not the future).

Of course, if these problems could be solved, such a Dune virtual world WOULD be interesting because it WOULDN'T be a clone of all the other MMORPGs. It would be some 1st person, some space combat, and some RTS (although the "real-time" part might mean that players would order their troops to move and wait a few days for them to get there).



Then again you could just use the "universe" to draw your fiction from and the game could have pretty much nothing to do with the novels except sharing the fictional setting. Then you make it move as slow as molasses through the universe's timeline, so things don't change that much and you can keep costs in line and players from freaking out - plus that's one movie you can't rewind, so you really don't want to rush the timeline. The model seems to be working for some!


"Instead, it probably began with a 1992 DOS/VGA game called Dune II,"
I think the word 'probably' was used as a prepartory defence against this, but the first RTS was the very obscure 'Herzog Zwei', not 'Dune II'.


Oh except the link already said it.. oh well.. :(


I was re-reading the books a while back which made me long for Dune II again. I managed to find a copy on the net pretty easily (though it is not flawless, it crashes occasionally).

Turns out there is a pretty vibrant user community out there creating levels and even campaigns for the Dune II game.

As far as an MMORPG based on this universe is Concerned... It would be tricky, but levelgrinding does indeed seem inappropriate. MMORTS? PErhaps with a faction system, and a form of levelling that allows you to build different units/buildings as you progress.




Funny how these things go - I was idly scribbling backstory for a MMORPG that will never happen and thinking about Dune (the film and the game more than the books) only the other night. Seems to me that the times are ripe for drug crazed religious space desert warriors. I'm in!

Star Trek doesn't even vaguely interest me (amongst other things, way too structured and faceless). Way way way too geeky too.

Star Wars could have been great but has been done to death and SWG just doesn't look that exciting. I used to love the Privateer games and am hoping Jump to Lightspeed brings a little of that to SWG. Seems to me it will be make or break. If it's good, it'll catapult the game forwards with the MMORPG forming a background to the space expansion. If bad, SWG will never recover. The 'Jump to Lightspeed' name is distilled hype and if it doesn't deliver players will be nearly 2 years into SWG and bitter about their disappointments.

Dune would be a *very* engaging virtual world. It is richly detailed and has an exotic feel to it which is independant of the sci-fi element. It's also relatively fresh whereas both the Star thingies are getting a bit overdone. Dune II was a great game which I spent hours playing. Hope they settle their differences quick and find more constructive uses for their time.


Dune resonates with readers over the long term, I think, for the same reason that Lord of the Rings still does: both of these literary creations were snapshots of interesting times at a particular moment in a vast and detailed history.

I wonder if it's not this sense of some deep developmental logic behind a fictional world that makes it so fascinating. Dune, LOTR, Gormenghast, Islandia, even Star Wars and Star Trek -- one thing all these fictional universes have in common is *history*. I suspect these works survive and prosper because they impart a sense of historical realism. There were people and events long before the current action, you feel, and there'll be people and events following the current action. That sense of historical realism is a powerful tool for suspending disbelief in a secondary universe.

Although Herbert didn't explicitly develop a creation myth as Tolkien did, he still gave you the feeling in Dune that the galaxy at the time of Shaddam IV had been populated for quite a long time, and that a bunch of powerful groups had been jockeying for position for almost as long:

* the Great Houses (Landsraad)
* the Bene Gesserit
* the Spacing Guild
* the Tleilaxu

These would almost appear to be custom-made for factions in a MMORPG... but is that all that's needed for a successful game? How can a Dune (Middle-Earth, Star Wars, etc.) MMORPG generate the sense of being a participant in a grand history that makes the popular fictional universes so attractive in the first place?


Other sci-fi possiblities:

Ringworld by Larry Niven

The Culture series by Iain M Banks (I wanna be a wise-cracking AI system!)

Dr. Who

Flash Gordon anyone? Nice retro "Mad Scientist" style game. COH might have this niche taken.

A few compelling universes are out, in my opinon.

Heinlien and Azimov for example, as they are to disjointed/contridicting to make a full universe.


You're limiting yourselves to Western science fiction. The Japanese have the whole Universal Century universe of Gundam, which has a detailed history akin to the two Star franchises. And Bandai is already developing a Gundam MMORPG for Japanese, Korean, and English-speaking audiences.


Personally i thought the original Planet of the Apes would make for a good world. Though i suppose it would work similar to any post apocolyptic world would.

I'm wondering what the definition of RTS is. As i usually considered the original populace to be a RTS of sorts.


Absoultey, a Dune MMO game would have all the elements to sustain interest. It's its own universe. Let's make this happen.

bi la kaifa


Thanks for the thoughts everyone -- and for the brainstorming. The more I think about it, the more I'm not sure Dune would be 3d in line in terms of popular sci-fi worlds, but the weirdness and the depth certainly make it one of the most interesting sci-fi worlds out there.

Having David Lynch direct the first movie version was appropriate, though the SF channel miniseries was much closer, I think, to what Herbert was trying to evoke.

Btw, on SF/fantasy writers, this is a cool 20 hour lecture series in mp3.



Dune: Generations was a Dune MMOG in the making back in 2001-2002. Unfortunately, it never made it to market as the company making it, Cryo, was shut down. It was to have been a MMORTS.


Many thanks -- somehow I missed it...

More info here:

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